Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

Get Clarity in Messaging or Get Trampled by the Competition

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, Apr 28, 2010

The symptoms of marketing under-achievement are fairly standard and there are tens of thousands of companies Worldwide with good to great products that are under-performing in marketing. Here are a few symptoms of a problem at B2B company, Acme Inc.:

  • The Website message is fuzzy or just plain lost in text and gobbledegook.
  • The problems the products solve for their customers are not articulated clearly in the main pages on the Website.
  • There is no blog, not much recent news, save for a few new partner and customer announcements, the Website is like a static brochure and shows its age.
  • There's a sign-up form on the Website that you have to fill out before you can read any in-depth material.
  • If you Google up their key markets and the keywords they should rank for, they are invisible.
  • 99% of traffic coming to their site from search engines either has the company name, product name or principal's names in the search string.
  • Several pay-per-click campaigns have been run in the past, but with poor results.
  • The tool Acme's sales team uses most frequently to engage customers and prospects, the PowerPoint presentation, morphs from one presentation event to the next.
  •  At any time there are as many versions of the Powerpoint presentation circulating as there are salespeople in the company, which dilutes the message and pollutes the brand. 
As a result of the above, Acme doesn't get any inbound leads other than through word of mouth...I'm not knocking word of mouth by the way, it's a fabulous achievement and an asset for Acme.

Acme has a great product, but are under-achieving their potential....if the problems identified above are left unattended, their business will decline as more agile competitors with Marketing 2.0 savvy and competitive products erode their installed base and capture new business from new customers looking for similar capabilities on the Internet.

Get on message or get killed...is a comment I wrote after messaging alignment an exhaustive messaging development process with my old team at MicroStrategy. The rigor and value of the messaging process has stayed with me and we have adapted and evolved it over time to form the basis of our Buyer Relevant Messaging Process and Customer Messaging Architecture development.

Clarity takes time and effort, but it's worth it.

Many companies don't realize there is a messaging and differentiation problem, or have the time, know-how or commitment to stop what they are doing, take the best minds in the business to focus and create a clear and compelling set of messages. Then to test and validate the messaging and flow it thought the website, collateral and through training – get it into the conversations of the sales team and then maintain it over time.

As a result the marketing value message in the Website is diminished and potential prospects for their products engage their competition over the Internet.

If the above symptoms are familiar, you could start a transformation process with Marketing Messaging Alignment, to align sales and marketing messaging with buyer goals and needs.

Inbound Marketing - attract new prospects and retain existing customers

Acme's CEO states that they have spent inbound marketing money on Search Engine Optimization over the past couple of years, yet are not happy with the results. This is unsurprising given that:

  • the Website is static and hasn't been updated for a year.
  • there is no blog.
  • there is little fresh content.
  • the Website is under 50 pages.
  • there are less than 100 inbound links.

The CEO states confidently that "inbound leads are useless if they don't serve your growth goals and turn visitors into new business over time"...which is absolutely true.

However the problem is that the CEO has no idea of the capabilities of Inbound Marketing platforms like HubSpot. Nor is the CEO aware of how Inbound Marketing using on-target messaging, can transform a business by attracting high quality inbound visitors to their Website and through compelling offers and landing pages, convert visitors into leads.

Our problem is that Acme's CEO/Owner/VP sales and Marketing is unlikely to read this post. Acme needs a change agent, to develop a vision of what is achievable and help in overcoming the status-quo and getting people used to the idea of doing things differently – the rest is easy and follows a logical Inbound Marketing sequence of events.

If you know someone running a business who is under-achieving and you think has a great product, then we would appreciate it if you could forward a URL of this article, or arrange introductions.

Topics: inbound marketing, messaging value, differentiation

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